FIVE FOR WRITING - FINALE: Coming up with five musical poetic inspirations was, ultimately, difficult. My final selection is below and I went back and forth between this choice and two other ladies -- namely Joni Mitchell and Patti Smith. They would have definitely been six or seven for this meme. Pink Floyd would have been eight. But, as Nick Bruno dictated, we were to select five. So, my final choice is...

Laurie Anderson - Excellent Birds (This Is The Picture)


Laurie Anderson is a soothsayer, avant-garde priestess and, most of all, a poet. I first heard Laurie on the album Big Science, which was basically a "greatest hits" culled from her massive quadruple album, United States Live. Her subsequent albums, like Home of the Brave, Strange Angels, The Ugly One With the Jewels and Bright Red, were all masterpieces. I was beguiled, amused and provoked by O Superman, Walking and Falling, From the Air, Tightrope, Same Time Tomorrow, Sharkey's Day, Love Among the Sailors and so many more. To simply call her a "performance artist" diminishes her talent as a writer and storyteller. I've been lucky enough to see Laurie three times in concert and I can tell you, there is nothing quite like being in her presence. The last tour was strictly a preview of upcoming material from a new album coming out this year, Homeland. It was striking political work, critical of Bush, war and men with too much power. But I would have given my right arm to have been at the Sept. 19 - 20, 2001 concerts in New York City just after the terrorist attacks (it's now available as a double cd, and one of the best live albums ever). She boldly took her material and arranged it into a chilling requiem for the dead. When she intoned "Here comes the planes, they're American planes, made in America..." from O Superman you could hear a pin drop. The clip above, Excellent Birds (This Is The Picture), was co-written with Peter Gabriel for her Mister Heartbreak album and later appeared on his So album, but this live version from Home of the Brave is definitive Laurie Anderson. The personal, the politics, the quirky pop culture references -- this is what drives my own work.

I'm selecting these folks to pass the meme torch: Montgomery Maxton, Poet With A Day Job, Jenni Russell and C. Dale Young. 

Comments

danvera said…
Well, there's no doubt I would've picked Dame Joni over Laurie if I'd done one of these. Perhaps Patti would've made my final cut. I've always loved her spoken word Burroughs piece. And her take on Ginsberg's Holy Holy is just remarkable.
jenni said…
Pink Floyd! Yay! Okay. I'll get on this...

:)
Anonymous said…
This is one of my favorite songs on Peter Gabriel's album

GAV
megalopoet said…
and i thought sam 10k was *psychic*, although the laurie anderson i'd've put at number 9 or so... (pour moi)

thanks for all your bloggery, symmetry, and music-ry. the kate bush, u2 & peter gabriel were sooo spot-on for music & lyrics-- hard to rise above this sublime list. j'adore.
JimK said…
Love Laurie Anderson!
Thanks for the list of other pieces..
I think Sharkey's Day was the first
I saw..
I've enjoyed your choices, Collin. This has been a great exercise in reflection - although I couldn't stay with 5 and had to move to 7. What I found amazing was that The Beatles weren't on my list. At the beginning I was certain they would be, but found no room.
Nick said…
I guess the fact that I have two Beatles' tunes on my list say something about me - although to be honest both were penned by Lennon so that sits well with me...Still there are so many other tunes which I thought would make it.

Popular Posts